(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

CHICAGO-Equity Residential is hoping to review final bids for its 27,390 units it acquired from Lexford Residential Trust early next month. President and chief executive officer David J. Neithercut says preliminary bids are due soon, which will allow Equity Residential officials to offer more detailed information to a list of finalists.

“We have no need and are under no obligation to sell,” Neithercut stresses during Equity Residential’s recent earnings conference call. “We’ll sell if it’s a price we like, or if a sale is approved by the board.”

The sale of the primarily low-density, ranch-style multifamily rental units in complexes with a limited amount of amenities is part of a strategy by the REIT to reduce the number of markets it operates in. Already, 86% of Equity Residential’s income comes from its top 20 markets, an increase of more than 20 percentage points from six years ago.

JPMorgan is advising Equity Residential on the Lexford portfolio sale, which cost the REIT $733 million in 1999.

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